Spiritual Enlightenment, The Damndest
"For the last five months or so we've
had a mother and daughter with us.
The mother, Marla, is one of the many
who show up with pretty distorted
views about what enlightenment is.
I can't really teach her anything for
now, I can only encourage her to take
a look at her basic assumptions and
develop a willingness to revisit them
in a new light. As is often the
case, she'll probably prefer her
romanticized beliefs over the harsher realities and move on rather than
change. The misconception about
enlighenment stems from, or is at least
compounded by, the fact tht most of
the world's recognized experts on the
subject of enlightenment are not enlightened.
Some are great mystics, some are great
scholars, some are both, and most are
neither, but very few are awake.
This core misconception will be a big
theme in this book because it's the
primary obstance in the quest for enlightenment. Nobody's getting there
because nobody knows where there is,
and those are are entrusted to point
eh way are, for a variety of reasons
pointing the wrong way.
At the very heart of this confusion
lies the belief that abididing non-
dual awareness - enlightenment - and
the no-abiding expereince of cosmic-consciousness - mystic union -
are synonymous, when, in fact, they
are completely unrelated. It's possible
to hae either without the other, and
there are countless millions of cases
of mysticism and cosmic consciousness
of varying degree for every case of enlightenment.
Of course, true cases of enlightenment
are unlikely to attract attention to themselves, so it is certain that
there are more than is apparent ( like
vampires!). However, the simple fact
remains that enlightenment and mysticism
have little or nothing in common.
Anyone, myself included, who has had
a taste of mystic union will naturallly
assume it to be the very summit of
human experience, which I believe it
is. It would follow from there that
anyone who enjoyed more frequent acces
or greater ease of access to scuh a
rarified state would be at or near the
summit of humanity. All well and good
until such a one is labeled spiritually
enlightened. He or she may be a divine
avatar or love incarnate or the
supreme godhead, but enlightenment
is something else.
The critical distinction is that one
is in the dream and the other is not.
One is truth-realized and the other
Enlightenment is about truth. It's
not about becoming a better or happier
person. It's not about personal
growth or spiritual evolution. An
accurate ad for enlightenment would
make the toughest marine blanche. There
is no higher stakes game in this world
or any other, in this dimension or
any other. The price of truth is
everything, but no one knows what
everything means until they're paying
<-- Jed McKenna